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Nestande hit-and-run trial pushed to Oct. 29

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The trial for Gabrielle Nestande, the woman accused in the fatal hit-and-run of Courtney Griffin last year, has been pushed back to October.

During a pop up court hearing Friday afternoon, Travis County District Judge Karen Sage granted a motion of continuance from the defense to delay the trial based on incoming analysis from the state.

The prosecution notified the defense they intended to perform a detailed re-enactment of the accident that occurred in Austin’s Tarrytown neighborhood in the early morning hours of May 27, 2011.

Police say Nestande, a former administrative aide to Republican Rep. Wayne Christian in the Texas House, struck 30-year-old Griffin with her black BMW when Griffin was walking to her home on Exposition Boulevard.

Nestande, a native of California, then fled the scene to a friend’s house nearby. Nestande was taken into custody the following morning when she went to work on the House floor at the State Capitol.

A homeowner discovered Griffin’s body in her driveway shortly after 5 a.m. Police say alcohol may be a factor in the crash.

Prosecutors say it will take them until at least the end of next week to give the defense their conclusions of their in-depth reconstruction of the night’s events which involves expert photography and precise moon lighting.

Lawyers for Nestande, Roy Minton and Sam Bassett, also filed an additional motion Friday to have their own expert, traffic engineer Eric Moody, to observe the state’s re-creation of the accident. That request was denied.

“Obviously it’s important for us to get the report and be able to see what it is they did and what their conclusions were,” Bassett said. “So we need more time so that any expert we use can analyze and make sure proper methods were being used and whether or not we criticize their conclusions remains to be seen.”

The slew of pre-trial hearings over the past year-and-a-half has been a long road for family and friends of Griffin, who was a well-loved animal advocate and native Austinite.

“We trust who is representing us and we believe they have the best interest for Courtney, and that is what this is about,” Chandler Griffin, Courtney’s sister, said. “And hopefully justice is served in the end, and if this is what makes that happen, then absolutely.”

The new trial is set for Oct. 29, with jury call beginning Oct. 24 at 9 a.m.

Nestande is charged with failure to stop and render aid, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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